to turn a phrase

I love a well turned phrase. To me there is something beautiful and awe inspiring about a sequence of well chosen words that accurately and succinctly communicate a thought, idea or a set of circumstances. I can meditate on a well turned phrase much like an art critic can gaze at a masterpiece for hours on end reflecting on the subtle shading and intricate use of color.

I have heard many well turned phrases that have become favorite quotes and maxims for living, but perhaps one of the best turned phrases ever uttered were the words of the angel at the empty tomb: “He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:6)

Now you might be thinking, “Well, no doubt that was a grand announcement of historic proportion, but I’m not sure why it would qualify as a well turned phrase.” The reason I would consider it as the latter is due to the very next thing the angel says: “Remember how he told you.”

The statement by the angel is summation of everything Jesus ever said. It is a bold declaration that Jesus was the consummate truth teller. To borrow from the words of the Old Testament, “Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 1:20,21, that all the promises of God are confirmed and forever established by Christ’s resurrection. Much like the well prepared courtroom litigator who sums her case up in a succinct phrase or a catchy rhyme that jurors can’t get out of their subconscious (“If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.” Remember that one?), so the angel reminds his listeners that if Jesus can be trusted to keep his word regarding something as monumental as the resurrection from the dead He can be trusted with the smallest details of our lives.


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